Matt Towery

The New York Times story that broke this week suggesting John McCain had an improper relationship with a lobbyist created questions that even most political experts might recognize.

John Weaver, a longtime McCain confidant, left the McCain campaign when it was low on cash and appeared to be floundering. Weaver made it clear on one major cable network that he was not the source of the New York Times article. However, Weaver did acknowledge that he had spoken to McCain about the subject and acknowledged to another paper that he did in fact meet with the lobbyist in question regarding the 2000 presidential race, requesting that she keep her distance from Sen. McCain.

I doubt that many Americans will ultimately be too interested in any relationship McCain might have had with this lobbyist, given the fact that if he is elected president, he will be the oldest to ever take office. I mean no offense, but I really don't even want to mentally picture such a thing. But rather than dismiss a potentially significant political attack let me shed on a little light on Mr. McCain's friend and former close adviser, John Weaver.

If anyone believes that Weaver isn't upset about having parted ways with his longtime friend and political star McCain, then they do not understand the almost family-like relationship that develops between longtime advisers and political superstars. I agree with political pundit Tucker Carlson in his assessment that regardless of how it is put, Weaver is not acting as a friend to McCain.

What has failed to be reported concerning Weaver is the fact that he has not only been close to McCain but has extraordinary connections to some of the most important support groups for the Democratic Party. One example is that of the trial lawyers.

McCain was one of a handful of U.S. senators who opposed some aspects of "tort reform" on principal. In fact, as I openly opined, I happen to agree with several of McCain's points concerning government imposing restrictions on juries. In that regard I became aware of the strong relationship between Weaver and those responsible for running the national association that represents the trial bar.

One thing that Republicans are often confused over is the difference between a lawyer who might occasionally take on a client who seeks compensation for a real accident or injury versus a fairly elite group of sophisticated ambulance chasers who spend most of their time talking to their fellow super chasers about who owns the biggest jet or has the nicest third or fourth home. Now when we are talking about the trial bar, that's who we're talking about.

There is no Republican operative that I can name who has a closer relationship with this organization than Weaver. I am in no way suggesting that Weaver's involvement or alleged lack of involvement in this story has anything to do directly with the trial bar and the millions of dollars that will flow from trial lawyers to defeat the Republican nominee in 2008. But it certainly causes me to reflect upon this powerful institution, which has in many ways replaced unions in its role of supporting Democrats, and the fact that what appears to be a spurned McCain political intimate who has enjoyed such close contact with that organization is now in the center of a story clearly designed to damage McCain.

Regardless of whether Mr. Weaver or other Democratic support groups were aware of or end up taking advantage of the allegations concerning McCain, this story should not be reported as a "Republican versus Republican" battle. While McCain certainly has been accused of not being the most "Republican" of candidates, he is clearly on his way to the nomination. That means that newspapers who pose their attacks as "features," as The Times apparently claimed in thier article suggesting the impropriety, will now start to take every shot possible to tear down McCain. Now we must wonder whether those who helped build McCain up will indirectly help powerful institutions, be they media or Democratic related support groups, whose No. 1 job will be to tear the Republican nominee apart.

Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a former National Republican legislator of the year and author of Powerchicks: How Women Will Dominate America.
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